Dentist helps former addicts smile again
Dr Richard Slattery is a retired Perth dentist who is using a lifetime of dentistry to help people get back on their feet.
A recent article by the ABC, highlights Dr Slattery’s work. Drugs like methamphetamines and ecstasy can have a deleterious effect on dental health by aiding decay and encouraging teeth grinding. Dr Slattery is using his time to offer clients in the Palmerston drug and alcohol treatment program free dental work.
“It sounds like it’s just for important things like job interviews, but it’s really for living your life.”
While we know the physical effects of dental work are important, for these individuals it’s also the psychological effects that can be the most impactful. Most of us take our smiles for granted, but years of drug-use can result in people being embarrassed of their teeth and embarrassed to smile. Dr Slattery’s work has given people their smiles back, which has in turn improved their self confidence and is offering a renewed outlook on life.
The program started in 2022 in Fremantle, Western Australia, and offers a free dental clinic for those who need it. Dr Slattery says the work is extremely rewarding.
“I’ve learned that these people are all making a big step … to drag themselves out of addiction, alcohol, and drugs,” he says.
“So when you see people who have come in with no teeth at all for years, and then they walk out with a smile, it gives you goosebumps.
“What more could you ask from a professional job than to be able to do that for people?”